March 03, 2010

E-mailing with Cherokee keyboard

Letter perfect

Keyboard overlays help teach students the Cherokee language.

By Clifton Adcock
The e-mail was composed entirely in Cherokee syllabary.

Rachel and others at the Cherokee Nation Immersion School are the new keepers of their culture's fire, carrying into the information age the Cherokee language and its syllabary, created by Sequoyah nearly two centuries ago.

Although the font was created through an agreement between the tribe and Apple Inc. a few years ago, the students have a new tool to help type the language: a keyboard overlay that replaces the letters of the English alphabet with those of the 85-character syllabary.

Students had been using a variety of keystrokes on a standard keyboard to type in Cherokee, but now they can lay a thin black silicone pad over the standard keyboard to find the corresponding characters.
Below:  "Cherokee Nation Immersion School student Cambria Byrd chats with friends in the Cherokee language on her laptop Thursday. The school now has keyboard overlays to help students type using the Cherokee syllabary." (Adam Wisneski/Tulsa World)

No comments: